​President Rivlin: All free nations are facing the threat of radical Islam, and all of us must work together against  this great evil. At the same time, it does not take away from our duty to find a way to build trust between us and the Palestinians.

 President Rivlin meets with US Secretary of State Kerry

 

Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon (Tuesday November 24 2015), held a working meeting at his residence with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is on an official visit to the region.
 
President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the Secretary of State and stressed the high importance of the shared values between the two countries. He said, "You are here as a friend of Israel, and as a leader of Israel’s greatest friend, and most important ally – the United States of America. We always say our friendship is one of shared values, and a shared vision. But it is important, to emphasize what this means. It means our countries, our societies, could look in a mirror and see the other looking back. We see the similarities, in our Supreme Courts, and in our protection of the freedoms of speech and religion. We see it in the way, different communities, live together, and build a strong and healthy democracy."
 
The President went on to speak of the current wave of terror attacks that Israel and many other countries are enduring. He said, "The terrible scenes we have seen, around the world, have shaken us all – and we continue to send our prayers to the injured and those who lost loved ones. Sadly of course, in Israel we are not strangers to the horrors of terrorism. The pain is the same, in Tel Aviv, as it is Paris, in Gush Etzion, as it is in Mali. And as it is in Sharon, Massachusetts, and I extend again, my deepest condolences, to the family of Ezra Schwartz; a US citizen murdered while here in Israel to study and volunteer."
 
The President stressed, "All free nations are facing the threat of radical Islam – which is the product of hate not of faith – and all of us must work together against this great evil. We do not need to apologize for our belief in freedom. At the same time, while the world continues to face this threat, it does not take away from our duty, here, to find a way, to build trust between us and the Palestinians; between us and our neighbors. We can and must, show the world, that we can live together in peace."
 
Secretary Kerry thanked the President for his warm welcome, and said, "I have had the privilege of coming to Israel for many years now. When I first visited Israel, I traveled in the north, to Kiryat Shemona where I saw what it was like for young children in the shelter, hiding from the Katushya rockets. I have climbed Masada, floated in the Dead Sea, and have traveled to Sderot, and seen the carcasses and shells of rockets which have come out of Gaza. I feel very much a part of Israel."
 
Sec. Kerry went on to speak of the strong and unbreakable bond between the two countries, and stressed that Israel had a right and an obligation to defend itself against threats to its citizens. He said, "The United States is very proud to be the friend and ally of Israel, a democracy in the Middle East. A strong country, though small, which shares our values about freedom and dignity, and respect for the individual. We honor this remarkable journey that Israel is on, as it sets an example to people by building a nation out of the desert, and breaking new frontiers in technology in medicine and so many other things."
 
He continued, "This is a difficult time, we all know that. When citizens can be murdered, like Ezra Schwartz, my citizen from Massachusetts, who was on a mission here to learn and to share. And when as the citizens can be gunned down, like a soldier yesterday, and in the marketplace in Jerusalem. This is a challenge to all civilized people. We all have a responsibility to condemn that violence, to make it clear that you no frustration, no politics, no ideology, no emotion, justifies taking innocent lives."
 
He concluded, "I stand here with you to express our outrage at this kind of violence, to condemn this violence, and to make it clear that Israel not only has a right to defend itself, but has an obligation to do so. The United States will continue to stand with Israel in support of your desire to live in peace and stability, without that violence."